Becoming aware of the five common HIPAA violations
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has been in effect since 1996, enforcing standards companies must meet to protect patient’s health information from being disclosed without their knowledge or consent. Although the act has been enforced for about 23 years now, it is common for healthcare providers to experience and perform HIPAA violations. Generating awareness and identifying these violations will help your business stay protected and compliant.
5 HIPAA violations
A non-encrypted lost or stolen device
Healthcare professionals use devices, whether a laptop, phone, tablet, etc., which contain records holding substantial amounts of patient information. In situations where these devices are lost or stolen, it is common for unauthorized users to gain access to patient’s personal information and take advantage of monetary benefits, such as selling identities or performing medical fraud. Although medical providers may get comfortable and become at ease when handling such devices, they should keep this equipment secure with their locations known at all times. These devices, if applicable, should also contain strong passwords and backup precautions to keep thieves from quickly gaining access.
Data breaches are often publicized urgently, primarily due to the extensive scale on which many occur. The average cost of a healthcare data breach reached almost $11 million in 2023, an 8% increase from 2022 and 53% from 2020. Every industry can experience data breaches; ensuring your company is taking the proper security measures to keep data safe and inaccessible to those without authorization is essential.
Lack of employee training
You can ensure that your company and patient data handling is with utmost caution and care by having your staff up to date and knowledgeable on how to handle PHI properly. Training employees guarantees that not only are the apparent violations recognizable but also the minor and more complex issues that can cause a rift. Training employees as they are onboarding is proactive, so they are aware of the proper handling and care required while dealing with patients’ personal data.
Talking about and sharing PHI
Gossiping in healthcare typically has higher standards than in other industries. There are circumstances where healthcare professionals will need to discuss medications, diagnoses, etc. Since employees have access to a considerable amount of vulnerable PHI, they should not repeat this information in public settings or in front of unauthorized parties.
Improper disposal of PHI
Proper disposal is highly enforced throughout practices to keep patients’ confidential information from being openly exposed. Shred, burn, pulp, or pulverize patient records so that the information is unreadable and unrecoverable.
These violations can be easy to miss, and some precautions are hard to follow. Providing your employees with professional training in handling and accessing PHI will help keep your company from potential liabilities. Here at MedPro Disposal, we offer HIPAA compliance training at a fair rate. Get a free quote today to find out what we can save you!